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HIV & Sperm Washing

Definition and Technical Information 

Sperm washing refers to a process in which sperm is separated from seminal fluid (semen = sperm + seminal fluid). Since HIV exists in seminal fluid but not in sperm, 'washing' the sperm clean of the seminal fluid lowers the risk of HIV transmission. Washed sperm can be used with the assisted reproductive techniques described below.

The medication used to treat HIV is now highly effective which has led some couples to ask about the safety of conceiving naturally. Unfortunately, even in men with negative viral loads, semen can still carry HIV, and therefore potentially infect the female partner. The risk of HIV transmission per act of unprotected intercourse from man to woman is still there and it is estimated to be 0.2% or 1 in 500 in couples, even when intercourse is restricted to the time of the month when the woman is ovulating.

There are more than 25 clinics worldwide now offering the treatment. The combined results from all these clinics indicates that in more than 5,000 inseminations or other fertility treatments carried out using washed sperm (prepared according to published guidelines), there have been no reported cases of HIV transmission to the female partner or resulting child.

Some recommended links

The treatment cost ranges from less then 1'000 US$ (in Turkey) up to 5'000 US$ in most prestigious; the Bedford Research Foundation in USA. Here a few relevant links:












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